Naruto “Hurricane Chronicles” begin Thursday (in Japan)

If I could be accused of being a fanboy about any one thing, it would probably be Naruto. Long have I waited with my fellow Narutards for the fillers to end, and by god… end they finally shall. For those of you that bravely labored through the last hundred episodes of fillers, my hat is off to you. I, on the other hand, skipped them and read the real story in the manga instead. But even though the events are nothing new to me, I still wait with bated breath to see them unfold in full living color.

So, if you’re a fan, head over to Dattebayo Thursday night and join in on the torrent fun. Throw those guys a donation too because they do great work and all they get are angry 12 year olds spamming their IRC channel about why the episode wasn’t up 3 minutes ago.

If you’re not a fan, sorry, you just wasted a few minutes reading this shit. If you want to be a fan, but you’re afraid your friends will laugh at you (Naruto is like banging a fat chick in that respect) head over to Naruto Manga Returns for an extensive archive of the manga, it’s a quicker read than you might think (and PM me if you think sakura is teh cute, lol j/k ^_^).

Believe it!

Sony owes me $3,600.00

Anyone who got March’s issue of EGM probably read their article, “BattleStation!”. To put it mildly, this article incensed me. It outlines the troubled launch of the PS3 and interviews Sony’s CEO, Jack Tretton. Mr. Tretton’s response to the very first question posed to him by EGM clearly underlines Sony’s arrogance. When asked where the negativity surrounding the PS3’s launch came from, Tretton replies. “The problem we have…its society in general.”

What??1?

You mean to tell me that the reason the PS3 had a rocky launch isn’t because of its exorbitantly high price tag, or the feeling that the PS3 is a Trojan horse for Blu-Ray, or that there really isn’t any seriously compelling software titles to warrent an immediate purchase is because there’s something wrong with me?

Sony has clearly lost its mind. They have lost touch with what their consumers want, and just how much one is willing to pay for what in reality is expendable. For example, if the whole video game industry magically dissappeared tomorrow, we would all be fine and we’d spend our money elsewhere. This is not that far fetched…the early 80’s saw the bust of the video game industry until the NES brought it back around again.

The argument is that you’re getting more than just a next-gen gaming machine. You’re getting a powerful media center complete with a Blu-Ray player and a rich online experience. While its undoubtedly more robust than Nintendo’s paltry online capabilites, the PS3’s online arm is no where near as far reaching as the Xbox 360’s. Tretton himself even admits that nearly 62 percent of televisions sold this past year were not hi-def in the article. This was the reason given as to why there are no component cables packaged into the system. It also goes to show that a vast majority of consumers don’t even have the capabilty to see all those amazing polys being pushed around. Additionally, the public at large doesn’t even know the difference between a standard DVD and an HD-DVD let alone what the competing format that the PS3 supports is.

When told that 50 percent (a conservative estimate) of the people camping out to score a new system were Ebay blood-suckers, Tretton clearly feigns ignornace with the simple response of “really?” Then, he goes on to say that anyone who managed to get a system and indeed re-sell it on Ebay at a profit is no reason for him to say the launch was a failure. From a purely buiseness stand point, they acheived their objective which was to sell their initial supply of product. However, they were not selling it to their intended target audience. They were selling it to a load of get-rich-quick-schemers who were then in turn left out in the cold when a majority of the systems didn’t sell on Ebay neither. However, to be fair I’m willing to bet that if those lines weren’t filled with Ebayers, people who legitimately wanted the system would have filled the ranks.

Last but not least (for this post anyway), Tretton dares anyone who finds a system in-stock at a store that he will give them 1,200.00 dollars. The article plays fair and mentions that this interview was conducted in mid-January…which at my count was only 2-3 weeks ago. The GameStop (yuk) down the street from where I work had them in stock at Christmas time. But Tretton didn’t make his promise as of then, so I’ll let that one slide. However, just yesterday I was in my local Best Buy and there was three (3) PS3s 60GB models just sitting there. I stared at them for a minute with a strange nagging in my head. And now I know why.

Jack Tretton, you owe me 3,600 dollars.

Do you really own your Wii VC titles?

VC Registered Games
As you know, I’m a big fan of Nintendo Wii, and for the most part I love its Virtual Console (VC) service. However, I can’t help but feel I don’t actually own the products I’m purchasing through the VC store. Each downloaded game is attached to that specific Wii. Meaning, the game can only be played on that Wii console. So if your system breaks, what do you do? I recently found out that you can register your VC purchases through Nintendo’s website by linking your MyNintendo account from Nintendo’s website to your Wii Store. I thought that by registering the games, it would maybe act as proof of owning them, so that if my Wii console ever broke I would be able to download these games again onto my new system without a problem. However, after sending an e-mail to Nintendo, I can’t help but think that we really don’t really own these games, and that worries me.

First off, if you bought a bunch of VC games before linking your MyNintendo account, you’ll notice that they won’t pop up on your registered games list. I had to e-mail a Nintendo rep and ask them to add the games to my list, which was slightly embarrassing when I have Altered Beast on that list (which is hilariously bad in case you didn’t know). The following is part of the e-mail I sent to the Nintendo reps.

“I was also hoping that you could answer another question. I mainly want to have my VC games registered as proof of me owning them. Since VC titles are basically tethered to the Wii, I’m afraid that if the Wii ever breaks, I’ll lose my games. By having VC titles registered, would this act as a way for me to be able to re-download them if they were ever lost on a broken system?
Thanks for your time and help. Have a great day.”

About a week later I received this response back.

“Hello and thank you for contacting Nintendo,

Using the information in your e-mail, I was able to locate the account for your system, and to add the Virtual Console titles to the list of games that you have registered.

While having the games listed to your account is helpful, the official list is associated with the serial number of your Wii console. If the system is ever damaged or was in need of repair, you will want to contact us. We would set up a repair where you would send your system to us. We would either repair your unit, or transfer those titles to another unit. It should be noted that we cannot do this if you no longer had the system.

Thanks for your email and good luck with all your games!”

Is it just me, or does that seem like an absolute hassle just to have your VC games back? When he says “transfer your titles to another Wii” does that include games you may have backed up onto an SD card once you run out of space on the Channels menu? Are they transferring your payment records, or the actual game data? I decided to probe the game counselor a little more, with the following e-mail.

“Thanks for responding and updating my registered games list. Just to be sure all bases are covered, say I fill up all of my Wii channels and I’m forced to move titles onto an SD card, would I have to send my SD card in along with the broken Wii in order to “keep” and prove I’ve purchased those titles? Thanks!”

Since writing that, it’s been well over a week and I haven’t received a reply yet. Maybe I’m jumping the gun here, but am I being ignored? Do these guys simply not know how to answer that question?

The fact of the matter is that we bought these games with our own money. Technically, we should own these games and be able to do whatever we want with them. If I back up all of my VC games on an SD Card, and then my Wii breaks, I should be able to put them onto my new Wii system without any hassle at all. Or better yet, I should be able to link my ‘My Nintendo’ account to the new Wii console and should be able to re-download these titles. We paid for these games, and in some cases we paid too much for these games (here’s looking at you Donkey Kong).

Which raises the question, as consumers, are we being robbed? Nintendo and the other third parties are basically getting free money for their VC games. This is simply old product that probably cost them a nickel to put onto this service, and we are willingly paying the prices set for these titles. We should be able to prove we own these games without having to jump through all of the hurdles Nintendo has set up.

Shamoozal Radio #05

8-Bit Music Trivia Banner

It’s time for Shamoozal Radio #05, and we hope you’re ready for nearly an hour and a half of news, banter, trivia, and everything else we managed to cram into the show. We kick off with our Shamoozal News segment and learn a bit more about the Nerdlog straight from the horses mouth, and also read some “feed back” from Ninja, along with a few hints at the next Shamoozal cartoon and even an announcement for the return of another Shamoozal series.

Then the crew looks back at the last game console generation and picks out their favorites, along with some listener feedback. After that, tune those ears in for our 8-Bit Music Trivia segment hosted by yours truly. If you grew up in the era, you’ll be sure to enjoy it, as I promise nothing but pure NES nostalgia.

After that, it’s pretty much on as we go through some “Nerd News” and rant and rave about our own personal “Whore Daddies” for this edition of the podcast.

Choose to download it directly, or subscribe using iTunes with the links below.

Hope you enjoy.

Launch the Shamoozal Radio Player - Flash Plugin Required

Download Shamoozal Radio #05
Subscribe to Shamoozal Radio with iTunes

FEATURE: GamingFM Internet Radio

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GamingFM may not be the only Internet Radio station to broadcast Game Music, but they’re certainly my favorite. They’ve got an amazing selection of songs and a user-friendly web site that allows you to make requests and keep track of your favorite songs. If you listened to Episode 5 of the Podcast, then you already know that it’s already become a bit of a ‘phenom’ amongst the Shamoozal crew. By having 3-4 of us logged in making requests we’ve been able to pull off some excellent ‘Workforce Blocks’ featuring the music of Ikaruga, Metal Gear Solid and plenty of others.

The station was founded a few years ago by some former editors of Electronics Gaming Monthly and features 4 channels of music to choose from. Theres classic console which includes the NES, SNES, Sega Master System, Genesis and others. Then theres Modern Console, made up of Playstation 1 and 2, Xbox, Dreamcast and the Saturn. Total PC, is just that… all PC game music. My favorite as you may be able to tell from the photo above, is Complete Selection. It’s a taste of everything and gives you the most choices when you’re setting up your requests. Good times.

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I listen to a lot of Internet Radio, in fact it’s pretty much become my main source for music these days. A lot of stations out there suffer from server downtime and choppy playback loaded with buffer problems, but GamingFM always seems to play smooth as can be. The only complaint I have with GamingFM is that there seems to be a LOT of Streets of Rage music on there, and it really sucks hard. I hear so many songs from that damn game on there, and no one is requesting it. Also, some of the 8-bit music is pretty terrible. There’s more good then bad, but every now and then you’ll get one that makes it feel like someone is nailing your temples with a ball-pein hammer.

So if you’re feeling the need for a game music fix, head over to GamingFM, create an account (free) and start requesting away. You can even have an 8-bit music trivia game of your own with your nerdy friends in the IRC room. HF GL! GFG! /lol

www.gamingfm.com

N64 vs. WCW/WWF

What Up Mach?

I’m a big fan of the Nintendo 64 professional wrestling games. It helped that I was really into actual professional wrestling at the time and it’s almost embarrassing to say I still watch it today….. every week, many times a week. Anyway this post isn’t about wrestling on TV; it’s about the N64 games that I spent many a day playing with friends when I was younger and even today. I guess it all started for me with WCW vs. NWO World Tour.

World Tour

It came out in 1997 and was put out by THQ. Asmik Ace and AKI produced the game. The grappling system and easy, basic controls were what made it enjoyable for gamers (which were probably mostly wrestling fans like myself). It didn’t have many “extras” besides just the usual single, tag team, and battle royal matches. The game was big into the whole NWO angle that was airing on TV at the time. So you had your usual WCW wrestlers and then the bad guy NWO wrestlers. They even threw in some Japanese guys to spice things up a bit. Usually if you picked one of those guys, it was because you liked to laugh at them. Who seriously wants to play as Sumo Jo or Kim Chee? It was a fun game but it was only in the beginning stages of evolution.

Revenge

WCW/NWO Revenge was released in 1998 as a sequel of sorts to World Tour. This is probably my favorite of all the N64 wrestling titles. It was the first game to feature a battle royal where eliminations were caused by knocking a wrestler out of the ring. The 4-player mode I still play to this day, almost 10 years later. Once you are eliminated you can keep coming back as different wrestlers usually in a random order which makes it fun to see who’s gonna come running out. It might even be better now 10 years later because you get to see all the old school wrestlers from back in the day. Basically its good for laughs. Like if someone comes out as Eric Bischoff, Dake Ken, or Brickowski then you just make fun of them and throw them right out of the ring. It would be the ultimate insult if someone won the match as one of these jabronies.
The game also had unique finishers, big entrances, valets/managers, a cartoon referee, and all kinds of new moves. But unfortunately it was the last of the series for WCW because THQ went to work with the WWF.

Wrestlemania 2000No Mercy

WWF Wrestlemania 2000 followed in 1999 and WWF No Mercy in 2000. They were basically the same games as the WCW ones with the usual adjustments here and there. The major one was Create-A-Wrestler Mode with all kinds of specifications in order to make wrestlers not originally in the game, celebrities, random people you know, or even YOU! Everyone probably tried creating themselves and winning the World Title, I know I did. I think I won all the titles as myself, just picture that in real wrestling…. One guy coming out to the ring with every title possible. It would never happen. The one major disappointment with the WWF games is that they did away with all the Japanese guys so there was no longer anyone to laugh at…. Unless you unlocked JR or Michael Cole and had to be them in the Rumble. That’s always funny.

Rock Bottom3D

Unfortunately that was the end of the professional wrestling games for N64. The GameCube, PS2, and Xbox games were never the same. They didn’t bring the same fun and excitement simply because they did away with the 40 man battle royal where you could keep coming back as different wrestlers. Even the controls and grappling were a little different from time to time. Here’s to hoping the new one announced for the Wii will bring it back. I’ll have to start a petition or something.

Who the hell am I kidding? I’m gonna buy it regardless.

HOGAN

N64 vs. WCW/WWF (Part 2, the Sequel no one was waiting for!)

Dir En Grey

Dir En Grey

Last night I took my wife to see the J-Rock band Dir En Grey. I really had zero interest to see these guys perform live, but she has loved the band for years so I bought her tickets to the show. Come to think of it, one of the first times she invited me to her apartment (before we were dating) she forced me to sit through a DVD of these dudes. Needless to say, I was kind of weirded out. I was convinced that some of them were women, and their music just wasn’t doing anything for me.

I guess since they conquered Japan, they’re branching out and trying to make something of their selves here in the states. When I first heard of this news, I laughed. The only way they would be taken seriously is if they had an image change, and thankfully they did. Instead of a bunch of men in drag entering the stage, a hodgepodge of grunge left overs and metro sexuals emerged from the smoke. They don’t quite have a look down pat yet, but at least they made strides trying to look like a crew of guys who just want to rock out and thrash skulls.

And rock out they did. I have to say, I was thoroughly entertained by their performance. They played some seriously fast and hard tunes, and the two guitarists shredded like nobodies business. Unfortunately, only the bassist and lead singer were the only two of the band to act like total morons, thrashing around, head banging, and rolling around on the ground. The two guitarists just kind of kept to themselves, and the drummer drummed away, but he never called for attention.

While I wasn’t blown away by the lead singer’s vocals, he put on a pretty good performance acting like a complete tool. The singer is this really small runty guy, so tiny he has a patented box that rests in the front of the stage that he needs to perch himself upon in order for the crowd to see him. When he’s not standing on the box, he’s either humping the box, hugging the box, throwing the box, pushing the box, or has one foot on the box. He rolled around like he was on fire a bunch of times, and eventually jumped on top of the box and sliced his chest open so he could bleed every where. At first I thought maybe it was a fake, but he raked that blade over the same spot a few times before he finally struck oil. Over all, he was a good front man.

When it was all said and done, I’m not so sure it made me a fan of their music, but I’m willing to try out one of the CDs I bought for my wife over the last few years. It’s worth noting that I liked them more than just about all the garbage I hear on the radio these days.

More info on Dir En Grey:
http://www.myspace.com/officialdirengrey
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dir_en_grey
http://www.direngrey.co.jp/ (official site)

Gamecube Underdogs

There were many people who skipped out on the Gamecube last console generation. What those people missed is obvious, hits like Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, Resident Evil 4, and the masterpiece that is Metroid Prime. Gamecube owners most likely played those games, but they probably also ignored countless other titles.


I’m not sure why these games were ignored, maybe it was bad press, maybe they just looked unappealing, or maybe it was just bad timing. Whatever the case, the following 5 games must be given a fair chance by one and all. Don’t forget, they work on that shiny new Wii you have as well.

Chibi-Robo
There’s a word for Chibi-Robo, and that word is ‘charming.’ Loosely translated to Little Robot, Chibi-Robo was probably the last great Gamecube game that came out. You play as a robot-maid named Chibi-Robo. What starts out as a quest to pick up trash and old potato chips, eventually turns into a story about picking up the pieces of a failed marriage.

What people haven’t told you is that the game is essentially designed like a Metroid title. You’re confined to one room, and slowly but surely open up an entire house. There are loads of little crazy secrets, and tons of cool trinkets to collect. I can guarantee that this is the only game where you find a toothbrush that acts as a mop.

Chibi himself steals the show, with quirky animation, and nifty sound effects. Every time Chibi does something, it emits a sort of musical chime, and it all adds to the games charm. When he runs, it harkens back to the original Donkey Kong, where every time Mario stepped it made a sound. It doesn’t have the best graphics, but it’s got the biggest heart.

Chibi

Beach Spikers
I picked this up a few years ago at Best Buy for $10. I was looking for some cheap thrills and hot girls. What I got was a ridiculously fun game, and a bunch of butch manly women. Seriously, these girls could kick any man’s ass. These are not the double bouncer girly girls of DOA Beach Volleyball. They will hurt you, and they do scream like barbarians.

Sega’s AM2 team put together an amazingly addictive and fun game here. It’s got some really tight controls, and furiously fun multiplayer. It’s easy to pick up, meaning it’s a great game for people who don’t normally play games, and it has some depth for the players who really dig it. It’s one of the few games my wife and I play together, so bonus points right there.

Beach Spikers

Ikaruga
This game was created just to piss people off. It’s so flipping hard, yet so damn cool. Ikaruga practically resurrected the dying shooter genre (think Gradius or the old Raiden arcade games) with its bullet absorbing game play.

While the concept of switching colors to fight the opposite color isn’t anything new (Treasure did it before in Silhouette Mirage, which wasn’t so hot) it hasn’t been applied to this particular genre before. While not a technical showpiece, it’s graphically rich, with trance inducing streams of bullets flooding the screen. But there is method to the madness, and that is what keeps players coming back for more. If you think it’s a challenge with one player, wait until you try it with another, it’s a whole new ball game.

It’s short and sweet, but if you’re like me, you’ll keep playing and playing.

Ikaruga

Pacman VS
We won’t get into the connectivity debate here, but lets say that Pacman VS is a little gem that was over looked because of it’s premise. What we have here is regular old Pacman, but with an awesome twist. Get four people together, three controllers and a GBA SP, oh yeah and one of those GBA to Gamecube cables (believe it or not, I have 3 of those things) and then the fun begins. Someone randomly plays as Pacman, and the other players are the ghosts. The person controlling Pacman does so on the GBA, while the ghost try to catch him on the TV screen. Once someone catches Pacman, they swap controllers and that player becomes Pacman. Whoever gets to the preset score first wins. Sound stupid? It isn’t, and you have no idea what you’re missing out on.

This one might be a little hard to come by as it was given away as a preorder incentive for those that bought certain Namco games the year it came out. It was later bundled with Pacman World 2 for 20 bucks. Or was Pacman World 2 bundled with it? Food for thought my friend.

Pacman VS

Pikmin 2
The most main stream of all the games listed here, which was almost why it didn’t make the list. However, I know for a fact that you haven’t played Pikmin 2, and that folks, is why it made the list.

The truth is, I almost didn’t play Pikmin 2 either. When the game came out, I felt that I already had my fill of Pikmin with the original game (which I love, by the way). My Dad however, is a huge Pikmin fan, so I decided it would be a great birthday gift for him. That’s when I realized that Pikmin 2 wasn’t just a good sequel, but an amazing follow up, and a quintessential game that all Gamecube owners should have.

It’s obvious this is the game Nintendo wanted to make when they brain stormed the original Pikmin, but they simply didn’t have the time required to fine tune it. Enter Pikmin 2, a game superior to the original in every way. They got rid of the bad (the time system), and improved on every aspect of the original. The game features ingenious stage design, and highly addictive gameplay, and that is really all that matters here. The best part of the whole Pikmin 2 experience? Right when you think you beat the game, you’re actually only half way through.

 

Pikmin 2

The best part about all these games is that you can get them on the cheap. I’ve seen Chibi-Robo for as low as $10 some places, and on eBay I’ve seen the Pacman bundle for as low as a dollar. The only one that could potentially set you back is Ikaruga. You know, it’s one of those “rare” games that fan boys have somehow managed to create some crazy false value around, but I’ve seen it for about $20 several times. I wager you could probably get this whole set for the price of a 360 game.

Now go on, get hunting!